COL Some farm animals can be too nasty

Anybody who has livestock understands that all animals have personalities, just as do people.

Some people get carried away with assigning human characteristics to animals or pets, but actions and attitudes of some animals can lead you in this direction.

You learn what sow wants to be scratched behind the ear as you pass the farrowing crate, and what one will rip off that hand offered in friendship.

Running a cow-calf operation, I have learned most cows are capable of killing anything that comes near the calf the first few days. But after the newness wears off, they generally return to their prior docile selves.

Not so with one of my Charolais cows, 33. She didn't particularly like people, and she hated me. I never did anything to provoke her, but she harbored such hatred that she made my life difficult. At any time of the year, walking near her was out of the question. She would go out of her way to attack me.


As I checked cows from my truck one day, I saw something moving quickly out of the corner of my eye. I turned just in time to see 33 charging directly at me with her head down. She smashed into the driver's side door and walked away, quite pleased with herself. She was apparently having a bad day, and caving in the side of my truck, while scaring me half to death, made her feel much better.

Another day when my father and I were checking cows with his truck, she hit the passenger side door in her never-ending attempt to get me.

One time while checking cows on my horse, Diamond, I couldn't find 33.

Thoughts of looking for 33 in the more secluded parts of the pasture made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. But when the choice is between economics and fear, potential economic loss will always win.

Diamond and I cautiously walked the edge of the creek bank, he being careful of the thorns, and I being wary to see 33 before she saw me.

I saw a patch of white near the creek just around the bend ahead.

I dismounted and led Diamond to where we could look down on a shiny white newborn calf.

The sudden jerk on the reigns was my first sign. All might have been well with the calf, but the same was not true for visitors. 33 was charging out of the brush to punish those who dared look at her calf.


Diamond, who has been hit by cows before, wasn't about to be attacked again. He was leaving, with or without me. I lunged for the saddle horn and made contact at the same time he went from standing to full-out run.

The force of his acceleration sent me into the air, where I landed almost astride my rapidly retreating mount.

We were well out of range of the enraged cow before I was fully mounted and most of the way to the truck and trailer before I could slow Diamond to a fast gallop.

It was that day I decided that 33 and I were going to have a parting of the ways.

She obviously hated me, and I was getting to the point where I no longer really cared for her. It must have been a personality thing.

Walter Scott, of Bloomfield, Iowa, is an outdoors writer whose columns appear in newspapers throughout the Midwest.

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